Archive for projects

results!

Lots of great things are happening right now in the Ruckus-sphere as a result of lots of hard work and prep, so I wanted to take a minute to update friends and family, as well as just acknowledge positive results, progress, and fruits of our labor! So exciting.

Before heading to my parents’ place in Wisconsin last week, I was up on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound for a week, training folks in direct action climbing as part of Ruckus’s Localize This! Action Camp.

[Check out our news coverage on Seattle’s King 5 news!  That’s me in the black demonstrating a controlled rappel;)]

It was an excellent camp, and one of the greatest things about it was the direct connection to action. The camp was formatted to help the local Vashon community prepare to stop a multinational corporation from developing a gravel mine. The trainings felt all the more impactful with the majority of participants thinking about how they were going to incorporate their new skills into upcoming action campaigns.

And then this morning some of our folks did a kickass action up in Toronto against the Royal Bank of Canada, protesting their bankrolling of the Alberta Tar Sands (through Rainforest Action Network‘s divestment campaign).

I got a text message at 5am this morning saying that the banner-action was happening, and it made my day to watch as the photos rolled in of two of the amazing women in Ruckus’s IP3 (Indigenous Peoples’ Power Project) network (one who is also a Ruckus board member) who I’d just gotten to hang out with on Vashon two weeks ago – climbing RBC headquarters’ flagpoles and unfurling the banner. (Luckily it went much better than it did in the crazy dreams I had when I drifted back off to sleep after reading the text message!)

It’s great to see results. Training in Action!

Something else I’ve been up to at Ruckus is managing the launch of our new website and blog which have both been in major need of rehaul for years now. While we had amazing folks at Tumis and Radical Designs do the design and implementation, I get to deal with the content management – I basically spent months [virtually] filing, and adding new content. We’ve still got some quirks to work out (if you find one, let me know!), but I’m super stoked to have our new site and blog up and running!

So, check out the new site, and my posts from today about the camp and action!:

my blog post: “putting training into ACTION”

more on today’s toronto action

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for peanut butter lovers only

if you’re not a hard core peanut butter lover, turn back now.

after running 9 miles this morning (training for the run for burma), i decided i wanted a big pile of pancakes.  so i headed to the kitchen and immediately starting mixing up the batter – one of a few “recipes” i have committed to memory.

i have long used a version of the garden of vegan‘s pancake recipe that i personally modified, and i often change it up a bit – using oats, adding chopped nuts, using different kinds of flour (never ever use soy flour in pancakes – lesson learned), corn meal, and of course chocolate chips and blueberries (not together), etc.

the ripe mashed banana is the vegan’s standby binding ingredient instead of eggs, and many times i use banana in pancakes, but i learned awhile ago that you don’t even really need any egg substitute and they turn out fine – just use a little more rice milk/soy milk/water.  (i think there are lots of baking conspiracies – like baking powder and soda – do those ambiguous little white powders actually do anything?  i rarely use the right amounts or sometimes leave one or the other out entirely, and things always turn out fine for me).  plus, sometimes you get tired of everything tasting like banana.

but today – today, i had the grand idea. as i was mixing the rice milk into my flour mixture, i looked up and saw the jar of peanut butter.

!

why haven’t i tried this before? i thought to myself, and scooped a heaping spoonful into the batter.

10 minutes later i had my big pile of pancakes with the new peanut butter addition.  and, well – would i immediately post it on my blog if it wasn’t divine??!


the one downfall – i nearly puked after scarfing the whole pile of pancakes down – i ate all of them from the photo (damn, why did i use the chipped plate?!) PLUS the one giant pancake not shown – you know, the last one when you scoop the rest of the batter out thinking it’s not that much and then you end up with a pancake the size of the pan?  yeeaaaah.

so here’s the “recipe” from today:

1 cup flour: 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 unbleached white

1/2 tsp-ish baking powder

i was out of baking soda, but you could probably throw in 1/4-1/2 tsp of that, too (again – i think it’s a conspiracy)

1/4-1/3 cup rolled oats

1 cup rice milk

1/3-1/2 cup water

2-3 Tbsp (?) natural crunchy peanut butter

(this should probably feed two people…)

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bubble curtain

i finally finished knitting this curtain for our bathroom window. it’s the “bubbly curtain” pattern from mason dixon knitting.

the idea is that it’s supposed to still let light through, but everyone shouldn’t see you… the pattern concept was supposedly of champagne bubbles floating up.

i knit this with elsebeth lavold’s hempathy yarn (cotton/hemp blend), which i love, on size 6 needles.

this photo is actually kind of fake, as i’m waiting for jess to get home to move the curtain rod lower… this is actually only going to cover the lower window pane, and leave the top pane open for more light to come in.  this was partly intentional (i wanted to be done, and was trying to convince jess that this was a valid idea), and partly not (my local yarn store no longer carries this particular yarn, and i ran out – i assumed this was a sign that my idea for only covering the lower window pane was the way to go).

anyway, i think it’s pretty, and it really made me appreciate lace, even though this is a super simple pattern as far as lace goes.

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one foot in front of the other

i had a great run this morning.  more proof that runs beyond 3 miles start to actually feel good (for me anyway).  it was only 5 miles, but enough to break the 3-mile lake merritt mold…

last spring when i was training for my first half marathon in santa cruz, my coworker ripped a page out of vanity fair and gave it to me for inspiration – it still remains at my desk.  it is this portrait of hilary swank running on the beach…  hillary_swank_vanity_fair_portrait_exhibition

pretty damn incredible.  i will never run anything like this, but i’m grateful for runs like this morning that give me some of that free-feeling energy.  hopefully there will be many more to come in the months ahead.

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Running for Burma, Ruckus and me!

bhm-sf-marathon-poster

I am running the San Francisco Half Marathon July 26, 2009 to support both Burma Humanitarian Mission, and Ruckus (the org I work for), as well as for my own physical and emotional health.

The Ruckus Connection:

One of BHM’s founders was a long-time Ruckus network member (Jeremy Paster), who unfortunately passed away in 2007 after a long fight with prostate cancer.

Although I never met Jeremy, I am glad for the opportunity to support his organization – Burma Humanitarian Mission.  I am always amazed by the work that our network members do outside of Ruckus (some of whom currently work with BHM).

The Cause: Burma Humanitarian Mission

BHM is an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to addressing the humanitarian and healthcare crisis in Burma. They do this by training backpack medics who hike into the country to provide trauma-care and health-care for ethnic groups who are suffering under the Burmese junta’s repression.

My Personal Well-Being:

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with running since high school, and although I’ve seen the emotional and physical benefits I’ve gained from a steady running habit, I often have a hard time sticking to it when I don’t have a goal.  With this half-marathon in July, I’ve now got a goal again, and am back out there running in the mornings, releasing stress, and staying in shape!

Sponsor Me!

By sponsoring me in my half-marathon, your money will go to Burma Humanitarian Mission to help provide much needed health care in Burma’s humanitarian crisis, and a small portion will go to Ruckus – my organization – which provides tools and training to build effective movements for social and environmental justice through the use of nonviolent direct action.  Please click here to make a donation today!

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winter knits

it’s about time i posted some finished knitting projects, as i managed to eek out quite a few finished objects (FO’s as they’re called in the knitting blog world, i guess) this winter, and someone reading my blog may begin to wonder whether i’ve actually been doing anything for awhile now…

i may as well just admit right now, too, that nearly everything you’re about to see is made from wool.  i honestly don’t have much defense around this (being vegan) – when i started knitting 2 years ago i just kind of got excited and went out and got myself a big pile of yarn, mostly wool, mostly having no idea what i would do with it – i simply didn’t want to NOT have yarn on hand at any time my fingers might be ready to start a new project.  since then, i decided several months ago that i would go back to treating wool yarn the way i treat wool clothing (and leather, for that matter): which is to say that i will buy USED wool items or certainly make use of found free wool; but i will not buy NEW wool.  so, as that applies to yarn, i am no longer buying wool yarn; but i am excited to try re-using wool from used sweaters – i’ve been on the lookout for sweaters that i think may be a good candidate for my first attempt at unraveling and re-using the yarn, but haven’t figured out quite what to look for, or how i would begin to unravel the sweater in one string… (if anyone has tips, i’d love them! i know people do this successfully all the time…)  and in the mean time, i’ve still got a fair amount of wool yarn in my stash, so i’m using that up along the way.

so, with that out of the way, onto my finished pieces:

for the last two years, i have almost always had something on the needles in various stages, but haven’t always produced much very often.  however, my latest knit frenzy started in the beginning of november 2008, when i got excited about this A-line sweater pattern from Drops Eskimo.  however, i didn’t get very far along before i realized i needed to set it aside so i could make christmas gifts for my family members.  so this sweater began in early november, then sat aside until about dec 23 when all the gifts were finished, and then i cranked it out at my parents’ house while i was there over the holidays.

i’ve still got to find buttons for it and sew those on, so i guess it’s technically not fully finished yet (and i haven’t worn it), but here it is anyway.

another piece i started in the fall sometime and then finally put the finishing touches on over the holidays was this simple “scrunchable scarf”.  it’s a super easy pattern and creates a really pleasing, reversible, and “scrunchable”(!) scarf:

as for the christmas gifts, i made hats for my dad and brother, socks for my mom, and a little clutch pouch/wallet thingy for my sister-in-law.

dad’s hat was this “nottingham” pattern.  i’m really pleased with how it turned out, except that i wish i hadn’t used two different colored yarns (i used light and dark gray yarns held together throughout), so you could see the cable pattern more easily.

my brother’s hat was the “assymetrical cable hat” from the one skein book by leigh radford.  it has an interesting method for closing the top off – instead of decreasing for the crown, it just knits a tube and then you sew it straight across, then tack the two points together.  the pattern calls for putting a pom pom on top, which probably makes the crown less weird, but i wasn’t sure my brother would want a pom pom, so i left it without one.  i think he was weirded out by the top, though, so i owe him a pom pom to add to it now…

i was most pleased with the socks i knit for my mom – the pattern was called “mock cable socks”, and i ended up knitting them all the way up to christmas eve, because i got crunched for time; but the pattern was relatively easy (i tend to stick with simpler stuff).  i accidentally missed a mock cable here and there, so there are a couple places where the pattern gets interrupted, but leaving in mistakes is kind of my trademark at this point.

for my sister-in-law, i started out trying to knit this “knitting needle knitting bag” (although i was going to make it smaller, and not leave knitting needles in as handles) because i loved the way the “raspberry stitch” bobble texture looks, but i didn’t get very far.  embarrassingly, the pattern level says “easy”, but the k3together raspberry stitch technique was way too cumbersome for my taste.  so i searched for something else that had a fun texture similar to the raspberry stitch, and settled on this “seed stitch clutch”:

this little clutch ended up being a first for many things for me, since i had to learn how to sew a lining, then sew the lining INTO the bag, and attach a zipper – all things i had never done before.  the first lining i sewed did not fit, so i had to make a second, which worked out okay.  i found these two blog tutorials about sewing a lining and sewing a lining into a bag that were invaluable in helping me finish this project.

since christmas, i’ve started a couple other projects for myself.  i’m just about finished with the second one of these “twin rib fingerless mittens”, which is the first time i’ve sewn a thumb gusset (next i’ll have do actual full fingers).  i just have to finish the thumb on the second glove, and weave in all the yarn ends on both of them (my most dreaded task in finishing knit projects).

i also started knitting the “christine bag” using the chunky burgundy yarn i found for 50 cents at a garage sale last fall, but i ran out of yarn, and decided to try using a different color for the top 2-3 inches and handles, but i’m not happy with the way it’s turning out, so it’s on hold for now…

next up: a sweater vest for jess?!


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a saturday shopping adventure by bike

my partner jess and i started out our saturday with vegan brunch at fellini’s in berkeley, meeting at the restaurant after jess got off an overnight shift for work.  after french toast and soy bacon, and their fresh-squeezed orange juice (i love that orange juice machine!), we set off on our bikes to browse thrift shops, a yarn festival, antique stores, farmer’s market, and… paint stores.

my bike with a dahlia jess gave me at brunch

my bike with a dahlia jess gave me at brunch

we stopped at some thrift stores first, but not surprisingly didn’t find any furniture for the new apartment.  i’m going to have to be patient on this one.  the searching over the last few weeks has yielded us a sweet old sewing desk, but that’s it so far.

next we headed up north of the university to check out the “color: fiber festival” my friend kasha (from cultivating domesticity) alerted me to. neither of us really needed any more yarn – we’re still trying to figure out what to do with my current stash in the new apartment – but i was excited to check it out, since i’d missed all the other yarn festivals i’d heard about in the last couple years since i started knitting.  alas, the “festival” was one room containing about 6 stalls of local bay area yarn vendors, and a circle of women spinning wool outside under a tent.  all the yarn was beautiful and hand-dyed, etc., and everyone there seemed to be wearing a garment they had knit themselves.  it was all very cute, but we felt awkward, and got literally trapped by one of the vendors who was eager to tell us all about her yarns, and try to make a sale. we made our way out as tactfully as possible after perusing all the stalls, and were thanked for coming as we got back on our bikes.

the color fiber festival

the color fiber festival

ironically, just a block away from the fiber festival, we ran into a couple garage sales around the corner, and i ended up scoring a ball of yarn for 50 cents.  sweet.  i love when things like that happen.

from there, we made our way over to “mixed pickles”, an adorable antique store on shattuck, where we ogled an old bedroom set of two twin beds with matching dressers and night stands, in an olive green color with little painted flowers. i had to drag jess out, convincing her the dresser was not in our price range right now (always a dream-crusher, i am).  we set off hoping that we would find a dresser that was just as good at a nearby garage sale for only 50 cents, but i guess the yarn score used up that bit of good luck.

next we stopped for a strawberry nut milk shake at raw energy, this cute little juice bar on addison st., where jess is a regular.  the owner is so nice, we even got a discount (that’s how often jess goes…).

we took our nut milk over to the berkeley farmer’s market, where we sampled a few fruits, and bought some apples, persimmons, and grapes, and then found a delicious lavender hibiscus lemonade from this vendor who had all sorts of beautiful canned goods.

canned goods at the farmer's market

canned goods at the farmer's market

after the farmer’s market we biked down telegraph, stopping at a few more garage sales on the way (no scores), to a few paint stores in the temescal neighborhood, and brought home about a million samples, which we pored over, with heavy debate, deciding on colors for each room in the apartment.  right now we’ve picked out a shade of teal for the living room, pink for the bedroom, avocado/lime greenish for the arts & crafts room, goldenrod for the kitchen, and a lighter pink for the bathroom.  next up:  actually buying the paint and going for it.  we’ll see how it goes.

lastly, we stopped at a yarn store on piedmont ave on the way home, where i picked up my size 11 needles so i can start my next sweater:

anyway, it was just a nice saturday, that i felt like sharing with those who weren’t there.

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